Information

Studio Gallery

142 Rahu Road, Mackaytown, Paeroa.
Ph: 07 8626974
I have a studio gallery which is open from Thursdays to Sundays, 10am to 4pm.

See this website for more information:

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Firings

This bit is mainly for any other wood firers who are either taking part in my next firing or may be passing through and want to see if any firings are happening. If that's the case then you are most welcome just let me know.

Next firing is: September 2017
kiln
Artist Statement

I first became interested in clay as a teenager and when I was 16 took lessons at the Auckland Studio Potters, but it wasn’t until I started studying ceramics at UNITEC in 1994 that I realised it was a lifelong occupation. In 1998 I graduated with a bachelor in 3D design, majoring in ceramics and since then I have been working as a studio potter. I was also the Co-Director of the Auckland Studio Potters from 2000 to 2006 and am the Manager of the Waikato Society of Potters from 2008 to 2012.

Currently, most of my work begins life on the wheel, but that’s just the start of the making process. I often add, subtract and alter the initial round forms, looking for a liveliness and freshness that will remain through the whole making process.

I use a wood kiln to fire my work as it provides the richest surfaces that compliment my forms. The physical nature of this firing process and its inherent unpredictability give my work freshness and a decorating touch that speaks about process.

Another strand to my working process is a fascination with the technological side of making permanent objects out of clay; this translates into experimentation with materials and firing methods. I construct kilns out of various unlikely materials and in diverse configurations in an effort to explore how contained fire behaves.

Teaching has been a mainstay of my working life, providing both a steady income and a rewarding, challenging and inspirational livelihood. I have taught many classes from beginner through to tertiary level, from short workshops to yearlong courses.

I like to travel and use the freedom of unplanned excursions as liberating and eye-opening experiences; a way to re-examine ideas and situations that leads to new approaches and influences in my work.

logoIf you've bought one of my pots since 2013 it may have come with a new stamp on the bottom, underneath my usual chop of the triangle with the initials DS. It looks like the image on the left and is no great mystery as the letter P stands for Paeroa and marks my setting up in this town. The wavy line is because Paeroa stands on the banks of the Ohinemuri river and near the Waihou river, so it again relates to my location. It helps to have 2 marks as occasionally my triangle chop is obliterated by a glaze run.

Glossary
Salt firing and Soda firing.

A glazing processes that uses the sodium from both materials as a flux to melt the surface of the clay into a glaze. The main difference between them is one of aesthetics. Salt is the older of the two techniques and tends to produce the fruitier surfaces. Practitioners also choose one over the other because of environmental concerns.
Essentially salt or soda firing is done in a brick kiln, heated to stoneware temperatures (about 1280 degrees) and usually with gas, oil or wood and then salt or soda is introduced into the kiln (in the case of salt firing usually by throwing it into the firebox). The salt or soda decompose rapidly and a mixture of elements move with the fire through the kiln. When sodium comes into contact with the work (or the walls or shelves) it transforms the clay surface into a glaze, usually leaving a distinctive 'orange peel' surface of light and dark patches and a rippled surface.
The elemental nature and unpredictability of the process are what appeals to me. You have a sense of control, a measure of reliability, but never certainty. The same firing can produce gems as well as path fillers. But the process and results also leave room for encouragement and hope.

Anagama firing

An ancient firing process that can be traced back to Japan in the 14th century. Anagama is now both a firing type and kiln design. The kilns used are brick and often built into sloping ground. They are simple and yet precise in their dimensions. The firebox is not separate from the chamber and all the kilns are fired with wood. Another important feature of Anagama is the duration of the firing. Seldom under 60 hours and often up to 10 days long the slow accumulation of wood ash on the work is what eventually melts and forms the glaze.
The kilns are often massive and require teams of stokers working around the clock feeding what seems an insatiable beast that belches fire and smoke. The shear physical nature of the process, from the cutting up of tons of wood, the slow and deliberate stacking of the ware, the drama of the firing and finally to the tentative unveiling of the finished ware all make for an unforgettable experience.
Anagama firers appreciate the quiet beauty of a flame kissed surface as much as the ripped scar caused by ash melting pots together. It requires perspective to see the beauty in these pots, to let them grow on you. The Anagama kiln is like a musical instrument, an organ on fire, and it is up to the stokers to make music through their rhythm of stoking and control over the kiln